Happily Ever After: Part Three
Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:5-6).
Many modern believers are like Thomas, confused, thinking in material terms about Jesus Christ and his kingdom. Most contemporary Christians would deny the charge but when questioned thoroughly, it soon becomes apparent they think Jesus was all about saving souls for a future materialistic kingdom. It is a materialistic kingdom because they believe it is a kingdom established by physical, military means after the second coming of Christ. The reality is, Thomas had a similar mindset. When he claimed he did not know where Jesus was going he was thinking about where Jesus might go in order to proclaim a new Davidic kingdom in preparation for a new age of Jewish dominance. But that is not what Jesus had in mind.
When Jesus said he is the way he drew upon his previous statements concerning his identity as the door for the sheep. He means he is the pathway leading to the enjoyment of the promises made to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3). Indeed Jesus is the mediation of salvation itself. But it is important to understand what this salvation is. The whole point of Jesus' ministry was to fulfill the promises given to the fathers. Thus, what Jesus means when he says he is the way is that he is the way Israel will enjoy the covenant promises. He is telling his disciples they will not participate in the covenant relationship because they are Jews. He means they are not part of Israel because they are circumcised and obey the law. He claims that being a blood descendent of Abraham will not save them. Instead, Jesus is the way. He is the only way. There has never been another way and they will never be another way to enjoy covenant relationship with the father.
Jesus Christ goes on to say he is the truth. In other words, he is the illuminating and guiding light. He is the witness and the substance of truth. But most importantly, Jesus is the truth because he is the embodiment of divine faithfulness. Truth is God's revelation of his covenant intentions in Jesus Christ. This is the truth that sets men free. Again, we are confronted by the fact that Jesus believes the special relationship with God described in the old covenant Scriptures finds its fulfillment through him.
Finally, Jesus declares he is the life. He had previously described himself as the bread of life and now emphatically claims the blessed life of covenant favor is enjoyed only in him. Indeed, the long-held Jewish hope of life everlasting is found in Jesus alone. This is a promise of much more than simply living forever. According to Jesus, eternal life is to know him and the father (John 17:3). Once again, this is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise (Genesis 18:19).
Jesus sums up this portion of his discourse by claiming no man comes to the father except through him. This is a startling claim of exclusivity. It is to say, the chosen people of God are not defined apart from Christ. He is the seed of Abraham and he tells his disciples that if they want to participate in a covenant relationship with God the father they must do so through him. The way, the truth and the life have been redefined around Jesus the Christ.
Many Christians today have difficulty accepting these foundational truths. They believe God has simply allowed a second option in Jesus Christ. They believe the Jews remain the chosen people of God ? apart from Jesus the Messiah. These kinds of thoughts should be anathema to the Christian. The truth is, they are treasonous thoughts. They reveal a lack of respect for Jesus arising from a gross misunderstanding of the Scriptures.
We will complete this survey of John 14:1-6 in the next article in this series.
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